A large survey of people living with HIV in various Western nations has shed light on key issues affecting their lives, including attitudes about antiretrovirals (ARVs), relationships with clinicians and dealing with stigma.
Sponsored by ViiV Healthcare, a major ARV manufacturer, researchers conducted the Positive Perspective survey among 1,111 people living with HIV in Austria, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US. They presented their findings at the 16th European AIDS Clinical Society (EACS) in Milan, Italy.
The investigators presented preliminary findings from the survey in July at the 9th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) in Paris. At that time, they reported that 86% of the survey’s respondents said that upon diagnosis, their main HIV clinician offered them emotional support, referred them to counseling or otherwise informed them about emotional support services. Also, 25% believed that if HIV medical providers received better education, this would help reduce feelings of stigma among their patients – 82% said they had experienced some form of HIV-related stigma during the previous 12 months and 37% said they hid their ARVs to keep their HIV status secret.
Among the newly presented findings from the survey are: 52% of the respondents were on ARVs within six months of their HIV diagnosis; 88% of those diagnosed within the past two years started ARVs within six months, compared with 40% of those diagnosed more than 10 years ago; among the 98% who were on ARVs, 56% said they are currently very satisfied with their treatment; 43% of those who have switched ARVs during the past year did so primarily to deal with side effects; 25% of those who switched their ARVs said it was solely or primarily their clinician’s decision to do so, while 11% said that it was solely their own decision; 71% reported being very comfortable raising their concerns with their primary HIV clinician, including 81% of those in North America and 62% of those in Europe; 89% believe that future advances in HIV treatment will improve their quality of life; 72% sometimes worry about the long-term effects of ARVs; 51% of men and 28% of women said that when they were diagnosed, the person they most turned to for support was a close friend; 3 in 10 said they were generally open about their HIV status; and more than a quarter reported that quite or very often they have feelings of self-blame, guilt and secrecy regarding their HIV status.
[link url="https://www.poz.com/article/viiv-survey-reveals-nuances-living-hiv"]Poz report[/link]
[link url="https://www.viivhealthcare.com/media/125429/positive-perspectives-survey-report-finalcompressed.pdf"]Positive Perspective Survey report[/link]